5 Simple Ways To Declutter Your Phone
It’s no secret that most of our lives are experienced through our phones. So why not value taking proper care of that space we expose ourselves to every day? Decluttering our phones is one way to be proactive about our use of technology!
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Our phones contain a lot of power when it comes to influencing our mental states. They can be places to relax + de-compress. They can be sources of comfort + entertainment. They can be productive tools + an oasis of knowledge. But they can also be traps we find ourselves in. They can be unconsciously filling our heads with thoughts + doubts about ourselves. The world becomes one big competition filled with unrealistic ideals + misinterpretations of what our lives are or meant to be.
Now completely deleting social media + other apps ++ only using phones for their original purposes of basic communication may seem a bit extreme for most of us in the technologically-driven world we are living in. So simply cleaning up our phones + tidying up our virtual homes can be extremely beneficial to our lifestyles + mental health.
Decluttering our phones can reduce unnecessary stress that excessive content on our phones causes. Not everyone may care about how organized their phones are, but it is refreshing to know all the content on our phones has a purpose. Cleaning up our phones also helps us clean up our mental health. Whether we’re aware of it or not, our phones have an impactful influence over our moods + overall states as our phones can be seen as a representation of ourselves. We have the power to decide how we want to interact with our technology + what we expose ourselves to, but many times we just accept what we scroll past.
If we aren’t motivated to declutter our phones for the sake of our mental health, we at least can declutter our phones for the sake of saving storage space more effectively.
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#1] Delete Old Text Conversations
Sounds simple + to the point, but this tip on decluttering can easily be overlooked. We don’t realize how much storage is taken up by old text threads until we scroll through + can confidently delete threads from months or years ago. Personally, I am one to keep all my conversation threads until I can scroll back to conversations from years before. One reason may be because I’m sentimental, but another reason is that I don’t think about them. Holding onto old conversations can be helpful if we need the information in those texts, but otherwise, they serve no purpose + can even start to negatively affect us.
Some conversations I have kept for years are texts from old friends some of whom I no longer speak to. While it’s nice to look back on those, it’s important to ask ourselves two questions if you also keep conversations like this: “do I actually look back at these +, therefore, have a reason to keep them?” ++ “does looking back on these old conversations impact my mental health positively or does it bring me down to hold onto a part of my life that has passed?”
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#2] Filter Through Photos
We’ve all had those “please buy more storage” notifications pop up at the most inconvenient times. Scrambling to figure out which pictures + videos to delete is always a struggle as photos are one thing on our phones that we attach ourselves to the most. But we can also hoard unnecessary storage in our photos as well.
One of the best ways to declutter our photos is to sync them into another area to be stored, like Google Photos or transfer them onto our computers. That way we can still save all our photos, but delete them off our phones, opening up a lot of storage! It’s simple + easy to do. But some of us may need to declutter a step further than just saving our photos somewhere other than our phone’s photo gallery.
Sometimes having thousands of photos can be overwhelming, so it’s a good idea to filter through them every once in a while. Get rid of useless screenshots we no longer need, delete duplicates + those photos we all have that look exactly the same aside from slight movements that shift making a single photo be saved in multiple unnecessary copies. We just need to Marie Kondo our photos [this can go for decluttering every aspect of our phones, really] + get rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy.
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#3] Organize Notes
This tip is one I started doing after I once lost all my notes when upgrading my phone. I’m one of those people who survive off their phone’s notes app. My to-dos are in there, random reminders, quotes, story ideas, workouts + more. At all times there are at least 50 different notes on my phone [meaning it can become chaotic very quickly]. The one time I lost them all was enough for me to realize I had to reorganize what I keep + where.
Phone back-ups are always questionable, so it’s nice to have copies of our notes somewhere safe just in case. Personally, I have created a Google Doc filled with all my notes in the event I lose them again — it’s not the most organized, but they’re all there just to be safe. Also, having certain notes saved somewhere else like a Google Doc allows us to erase them off our phones if they aren’t needed daily.
Aside from transferring notes to another source, one way to declutter them on our phones is to go through them one by one + decide if we really need to keep the information we wrote there or if there’s a way to combine multiple notes into one if they’re addressing similar things. I was surprised by how many copies of notes I had that dealt with similar things which were more effectively organized in the same note rather than scrambled in different ones.
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#4] Keep Apps Used Daily + Delete Others
Our lives are already busy + hectic why should our phones be too?! It may sound daunting to delete apps we don’t use daily, but it makes such a big difference! There are so many apps that are pre-downloaded on our phones that some of us have never even opened. If these can’t be completed deleted off the phone, at least putting them into their own folder can help organize + separate the apps into which ones are important to us. Making folders of our apps is a simple way for us to feel more organized and putting similar apps next to each other allows us to use the space more efficiently.
A step we may want to do before organizing our apps physically on our phones is contemplating which apps add to our lives + which ones negatively affect us. Some apps aren’t used every day, but we still need them. Which apps help us do tasks, be productive, etc? Which apps do we use the most? Which apps do we rarely open? Which apps brighten our day? Which apps have a negative effect on our mental health?
It’s important to evaluate how each app affects us + to be aware of how our mental state changes based on them. Do any apps prevent us from productivity? Maybe we should set time limits for ourselves for certain apps. Should we delete them altogether? If we don’t feel comfortable deleting apps that affect us negatively, we should at least focus on how often + how long we decide to use those apps. Social media can have both positive + negative impacts on our mental state ++ productivity, which leads to our last, but most important point!
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#5] Edit Who//What We Follow on Social Media
Decluttering within our social media is the most important + most effective way of decluttering our phones as well as our mentality. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of how many things or people we are following + we mindless take in the information posted. Scrolling through social media is a very routine + unconscious aspect of our lives, so it’s incredibly impactful on our mental health whether we are aware of it or not. Along with cleaning out our social media, adding time limits on our daily exposure to social media apps can be incredibly helpful to our productivity + our mental health as we don’t truly realize how often we reach for our phones ++ scroll through feeds.
We go through our lives in stages, but most of the time when we move on in our lives, our social media can tend to stay in the past. Going through our “Following” tabs can quickly be an easy way to declutter our feeds + follow what we want to be following now — not what we were following years ago. If it is difficult to decide whether to unfollow someone or something, take a look at their feed + decide how important that information is ++ if it is positively influencing our mental health. Is it motivating to us? Is it sharing useful knowledge? Does it make us smile or laugh? Is it making us unconsciously put ourselves down or in competition with others? Is it constantly spamming our feed?
We have to be honest with ourselves about what we want to expose ourselves to every day. If seeing someone’s posts constantly makes us think negatively about ourselves // the world in an unconstructive way, it’s counter-productive to our self-care + healthy lifestyles. Even just changing our notification settings could make the biggest difference. Sometimes social media can help us take those extra steps to really move forward in our lives when we need that extra push. It could be time to unfollow people who are no longer involved in our lives or have negative impacts on our mental health.
While we imagine decluttering our social media as us unfollowing people or things, sometimes cleaning our social media can mean deciding who or what we want having access to seeing our own posts. Blocking people doesn’t always have to translate to being passive-aggressive; blocking someone can be a step toward a healthier mentality when entering social media. No more incessant thoughts that dictate how we post + use social media just because of anxiety that certain people may see it or react in ways that we don’t want. We shouldn’t feel trapped inside our platforms that were made for self-expression.
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Decluttering our phones + social media is important just to maintain a sense of organization, but it is also a way for us to feel free in our own space — not held back by our pasts ++ useless old content. A healthy feed leads to a healthy mindset.
— Mental Health Resource Guide
— Make Your Screen Time Worthwhile: 7 Apps For Better Mental Health
— Mental Health + Sleep: 7 Tips For A Good Night’s Sleep